Monday, 31 December 2018

2018 Over

2018. What a fucking shit year that was. Absolutely shit. Fucking shit. Shit. Shit. Shit, shit, shitty, shit. If you assembled a year from ragged chunks of flesh torn from the assholes of animals, you still wouldn't get a year as bad as 2018. It was a fucking shit year. Shit.
Still got to see some good movies though.


10 Favourite New Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen

10: Happy New Year, Colin Burstead

Shakespeare refracted through middle class family angst, elevated by Wheatley's remarkable editing work and Dance's ability to carry off that outfit.

9: One Cut Of The Dead

The 37 minute one shot zombie movie this opens with would be impressive enough, but then throw in an ingenious flip and a riotous final act and you get a lofi gem.

8: Tigers Are Not Afraid

There's a lot to love about this movie, the best part being how the children's fairytale coping mechanisms are married to their brutal reality of slum violence. This happened so acutely at one point I let out a rare audible gasp in the cinema.

7: Avengers: Infinity War

Bravely went with the idea that everything else so far was just background noise foregrounding the arrival of Thanos and his clicky fingers. Succeeded with aplomb. Marvel's greatest achievement yet.

6: Climax

Manages to generate a visceral narcotic rush through camera movement and banging tunes alone, an unsetting backdrop for Noe's provocateur antics to play out against, but that's why it's a bit ace.

5: Lords Of Chaos

Norwegian black metal biopic that shows how easily teenage posturing can sometimes tip over into suicide, church burnings or brutal repeated stabbings. Or all three.

4: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Got super-hero movies right. Got Spider-man right. Got the boom-bap hip-hop soundtrack just right. Made me use a lot of hyphens.

3: Suspiria [2018]

Slow and menacing to begin with due to an insistence on including the one thing Argento left out of the original, plotting. Ends with a gooey parade of cranial explosions. Brilliant.

2: Hereditary

Became included in a discussion on a splinter genre called post-horror, created under the misguided notion that horror movies are innately shit and therefore the good ones need a genre of their own. I prefer to just call this excellent horror.

1: Isle Of Dogs

The only film that I watched this year that made me genuinely sad when it ended, simply because I was enjoying it so much I simply wanted it to keep on going. A most rare occasion when an ending feels like a curse.


5 Favourite Films That I Saw On Netflix

Normally this would be '5 Favourite Films That I Saw On A Little Screen' but this year saw a paradigm shift that meant Netflix was suddenly putting out stuff that dominates the small screen gems I'd usually talk about here. Indeed the best film here is neck and neck with Isle Of Dogs for overall film of the year. I was calling the ongoing slow death of cinema back in 2012, here's some more nails for that coffin.

5: The Invitation

A slowburn descent through social awkwardnesses and discomforting inappropriateness into screaming insanity and raging bloodlust.

4: The Night Comes For Us

If you took the pure exaggerated carnage of something like John Woo's excessive, bullet riddled double digit body count action bonanza A Better Tomorrow 2, and then replaced everybody's gun with a knife then you'd get something along the lines of this slasher ballet.

3: The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

A more playful Coens at work with six whimsical Western tales each tonally different giving very much the feel of an adaptation of a superb short story collection.

2: Roma

In which every impeccable frame could be exhibited in a museum. A technical marvel with serious emotional heft.

1: Annihilation

A gorgeous piece of searching Science Fiction that really, really needed to be seen on a big screen to appreciate the true visual majesty of what was on display here, but we were cruelly denied. It's still fucking amazing down on the little screen though.


10 Shittest Films That I Sat Through

I've read some discussion on the internet that proposes worst film lists to be crass beause they deny the amount of love, effort and creativity that goes in to every film project no matter how shoddy the end result. At the end of the day I absolutely support the idea that individuals pour endless love, effort and creativity into every film out there, I'm not trying to take any of that away at all, but sometimes things just don't go right. And when that happens I fully support the idea that I should be allowed to call a turd a turd, and by golly there's been quite a few this year.

10: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Not just a bland sequel to a shitty reboot, but also guilty of the most heinous trailer crime this year as the money shot they used to sell the film was the last shot of the movie.

9: Solo: A Star Wars Story

"You're going to make a film about who? Well OK, as long as it's a thrilling new story that fleshes out the character whilst giving me a whole new cast of Star Wars characters to fall in love with. What? The story is based entirely on three facts we already knew about him? Well what about my loveable cast of new characters? A screechy robot? Fuck off."

8: The Predator

Full points for trying to take a tired franchise in new directions. But an autistic kid understanding alien technology? Unsure of what the fuck everybody was thinking here.

7: Tau

When things happened like an angry man pressing a button on a remote control whilst yelling at a screen above a fireplace, which was yelling back in pain because the man was stripping out random chunks of code that had taken him *fucking years* to program just to teach the AI a lesson, then it was laughably bad. The rest of the time it was just bad.

6: Gods Of Egypt

A miserable collision of heavy handed CGI, atrocious acting, a piss poor script and everything Gerard Butler chose to bring to the project.

5: Seeds

Bravely attempts a storyline that demands precision film making to avoid muddying waters that shouldn't be muddied, ends up at flat tedium. Inexcusable.

4: Mute

I almost feel sorry for Mute. I'm sure there's an amazing idea at its core that makes total sense in the head of its creator, a place it has clearly gestated so long that it no longer makes sense to anybody else.

3: ATM

I get that sometimes events in a script have to be contrived to make a story work. And I get that if you're attempting something audacious like a one location thriller then contrivance fuels your script. But you can't contrive against basic physics, WET THINGS DON'T BURN, that's why your script is shit.

2: All the Puppet Master movies (except The Littlest Reich which was OK)

I had to bunch them all together, otherwise this years worst film list would be just a series of juvenile insults aimed at all the various flavours of outright Puppet Master bollocks. Special shout out to part seven - I've never before heard somebody do an an accent that's so fucking bad it made my eyes water. Hats off.

1: Robin Hood

When you're watching The Crusades made to look like The Hurt fucking Locker with bows and arrows, you know you're at a particularly special level of blithe stupidity and rank awfulness, something that this atrocity continues to deliver over and over and over and over again. Worse than every episode of Puppet Master, even the one that recycled bits from other ones and somehow made them shitter, films like this are why endings are truly a blessing.

And that concludes a decade of The Ape. Remarkable. Onward to more movies, more swearing  and more pithy sarcasm.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Roma


Alfonso Cuaron's Andrei Tarkovsky's Mirror.
And every bit the technical marvel such a description would suggest.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch


Despite the illusion of free will that tries to convince otherwise there's a distinct beginning, middle and end here so it's a movie. A movie about the illusion of free will. Clever.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Dororo


It's become something of a Christmas tradition to scour the local DVD shelves for the maddest thing that rural Shropshire can offer up. This years success comes from this demented insanity about a samurai born without any body parts and who must murder 48 demons in order for them all to grow back.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Cannibal Apocalypse [Apocalypse domani/ Cannibals in the Streets/ Invasion of the Fleshhunters]


An incredibly tame Italian cannibal effort about ex soldiers in New York who occasionally feel the need to nibble on folk. Very low on apocalypse type behaviours.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Red Christmas


An aborted feotus with Down's Syndrome goes on a kill crazed aze rampage in revenge for his own abortion twenty years earlier. Nope, even written down, it doesn't strike me as a very good idea for a Christmas movie but a bunch of people out there clearly thought it was. They were wrong.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

ATM


Attempts to be a clever one location thriller set after a fun Christmas party, succeeds at being a repugnantly stupid one location thriller set after a shit Christmas party.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse


A dizzying visual sugar rush spat out at such a hectic pace my brain was battered into a child like state of glee. It clearly had a similar effect on the teenager who, within seconds of the end credits hitting the screen, turned and yelped "Who was your favourite Spider-person?" like she was five again.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Silent Night, Zombie Night


An utterly failed attempt at being both a Christmas movie and a half decent zombie movie. And it's set during the day, not at night.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Ralph Breaks The Internet


A sequel with a better story, better gags and more impressive animation,  but gaudily smothered in brand name propaganda balancing it out to 'good' at best.

Friday, 30 November 2018

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn


Raw, unfettered idiosyncrasy. At its best when it feels a bit like Lynch, at its worst when it's just people being wilfully obtuse.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Robin Hood


An utterly repellent retelling of a tale that has already been retold too many times. The teenager described it as alright if it was a cartoon but awful as a film. She's only half right, it would be fucking awful as a cartoon too.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead


A study of the shifting power dynamics in an extended family as they all get shitfaced and shout at each other. Brilliant.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Terrifier


In which a clown repeatedly terrifies people. Usually by brutally slaughtering them.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Suspiria [2018]


Only Argento can make Argento's Suspiria so Guadagnino wisely positions his Suspiria far from Argento's so it can flourish as its own magnificently demented beast.

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs


Five stories about the capriciousness of life and death and one story about how stories help distract us from the capriciousness of life and death.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Mountain Of The Cannibal God [La montagna del dio cannibale/ Slave Of The Cannibal God/ Prisoner Of The Cannibal God]


I couldn't decide which random moment of exploitative excess peppered through this fairly tame jungle romp got it placed on the video nasty banned list. I reckon it was either the extraordinary amount of real life animal killings or the bit where a cannibal openly fingers herself for a few minutes. Actually no, it was probably the guy fucking the pig. Yeah, the guy fucking the pig is what did it.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald


The story about a funny self deprecating little wizard and his funny unpredictable little creatures is rudely barged aside in order to give easier access to the cash cow's bruised udder as everybody begins furiously yanking at the tired teat once more.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Widows


Wire lite.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The Night Comes For Us


An eye shredding parade of exuberant brutality.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

The 10th Victim [La decima vittima]


Remarkably ahead of its time with its futuristic depiction of televised murder used for mass entertainment. Very much of its time with a typically Italian plot about a man trying to avoid marriage.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers


Superb gooey pod people effects, Jeff Goldblum and Donald Sutherland repeatedly engaging in googly-eyed staring competitions and Leonard Nimoy with massive fuck off sideburns.
King.

Parallel


The director of The Incident and The Similars delivers more goods in his third movie, but no where near as many goods as in those first two.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Evil Dead


This Halloween I also watched this absolute masterpiece.

I Vampiri [Lust Of The Vampire/ The Devil's Commandment/ The Vampires]


This Halloween I watched Italy's first horror film to break Mussolini's ban on the genre, a charming tale about a mad scientist carrying out diabolical experiments on young girls to keep a withered old lady looking youthful which often fails resulting in spectacular onscreen aging. Not really vampires though, is it.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Mandy


No.
Just... no.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Halloween [2018]


Chooses to ignore 40 years of poor sequels, that merely echo the original whilst romping off in their own ill chosen direction, by creating a direct sequel to Carpenter's classic which merely echoes the original whilst romping off in its own ill chosen direction. A clear demonstration that the only thing that's changed in our aproach to sequels over the last 40 years is that we no longer bother giving them a different title.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Lords Of Chaos


Unflinchingly brutal study of all the stabbings, church burnings and touching friendship moments that swirled about at the heart of Oslo's True Norwegian Black Metal scene during the 90s. Excellent.

Cam


Threatens to go somewhere really unusual about digital doppelgangers silently breeding and subsuming our true identities but doesn't and ends up being a film about a girl who wants her job back instead.

Assassination Nation


A firm denunciation of the shrill voices of social media that whip up mass hysteria delivered in much the shame shrill voice.

The Sisters Brothers


An interesting take on frontier life featuring a fine cast and lashings of existential whimsy means this is that rare thing, a Western I thoroughly enjoyed.

Believer


So closely apes another well known movie that, if you're aware which movie, you will know exactly where this tale is going, yet will still be able to enjoy both the incredible dedication of the main cop and a gorgeously ambiguous ending.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Apostle


Stuffed full off brilliance but suffered from too much story. Would make a fucking amazing mini series.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Bad Times At The El Royale


Desperately wants to be Pulp Fiction. Isn't.
The teenager said she liked it but then proceeded to disdainfully tear apart every character's flimsy back story. It was good to have her back.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

First Man [IMAX]


Purports to be about the moon landing, is actually a long form study of Ryan Gosling trying out a variety of serious facial expressions for extended periods of time.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Venom


Utter bollocks, despite Tom Hardy trying his best and acting his little socks off.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

A Black Veil For Lisa [La morte non ha sesso/Death Has No Sex]


A film made all the better by hopelessly miscasting the extremely British John Mills in the lead role of a narcotics inspector in Berlin who realises a little bit too late that he's been a fool for thinking with his dick.

Monday, 1 October 2018

The Case Of The Scorpion's Tale [La coda dello scorpione]


What begins as a perfunctory Argento clone gently nudges into excellence by the end, mainly due to a fantastically basic take on the whole 'placing the killer in plain sight' trick. King.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

A Simple Favor


A mystery that undermines its own sense of mystery at every opportunity.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Short Night Of Glass Dolls [La corta notte delle bambole di vetro/Short Night Of The Butterflies/Paralyzed]


Throughout my extensive reading on Giallo movies this one comes up time and time again whenever anybody discusses 'what is a Giallo?', with as many people arguing for its inclusion in the sub-genre as there are those that insist it should not.
For what it's worth, I don't think it's a Giallo movie. I do think it's piss dull.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Predator


In which Shane Black explores whether his unique, idiosyncratic film-making style is compatible with the Predator universe. The answer, shown quite early on in proceedings, is a clear no and yet he insists on continuing to squirt out this total fucking disaster regardless.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

SS Experiment Love Camp [Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommandantur]


In a concentration camp where nazis are impregnating female prisoners to carry their superior gene, a comander abuses his position to get a testicle transplant on the sly because his old ones got bitten off. So basically a film about somebody sponging off their job, we've all done it at some point I suppose.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Babysitter


A brash, tawdry, excess riddled blast of noise told from the point of view of a child, directed by someone with a brash, tawdry, excess riddled visual style and the mind of a child.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Tau


Has a rare level of raw, baffling stupidity that is difficult to put into words.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Searching


Surrenders any visual dynamic to its central conceit of presenting everything on a series of laptop screens, creating something that's a step up from an audiobook, and a step down from a point and click adventure.

What We Do In The Shadows


A superb blend of vampire mythologies of old and uncomfortable social awkwardnesses of now.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

BlacKkKlansman


A Searing indictment on race relations in 1970s America and a humbling reminder that despite our collective best efforts, things still aren't much different today.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Climax


(Frightfest Day 5)
Horrifically disturbing, totally mental, head shattering sensory overload shot through with an ever present kick drum. Fucking awesome.

Monday, 27 August 2018

The Golem

(Frightfest Day 5)
A passable clay boy goes mental story.

The Dark


(Frightfest Day 5)
Reverse monster movie where the antagonist slowly becomes human. Manages to do so without suffocating levels of sentimentality too, which is quite a feat.

The Field Guide To Evil


(Frightfest Day 5)
Like most horror anthologies some stories could do with being longer, some could do with being shorter, some could do with being better and there’s roughly two too many. Strickland’s is the best.